Extended periods of inactivity correlate with larger waistlines, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and abnormal cholesterol levels. These stretches can help reduce structural imbalances, minimize injuries and maximize productivity by increasing circulation, energy levels and range of joint movements, while reducing muscle tension. Try to do them 1-2 times a day, and take a break from the computer every 30-45 minutes.
Jheri Bellard, MS, HFS, is the Fitness Coordinator at Baton Rouge General and is helping to develop a
Clinic Weight Management Program. For more information, call (225) 237-1767.
How to find your neutral spine
Before beginning stretches, find your neutral spine. Without shoes, stand with your weight on both feet. Put your thumbs on your hips and reach behind you with your fingers. Press the fingertips into the vertical muscles alongside your spin in your lower back. These are the lumbar extensors.
Tilt your hips slightly forward, while feeling the lumbar extensor muscles. Your butt should poke back. In this lumbar extension, you should feel the extensors harden.
Tilt your hips slightly back. Pelvis should poke forward. Your lumbar extensors should relax and then stretch slightly in the lumbar flexion.
Now adjust or level your hips - still feeling the lumbar extensors with your fingers - until you feel the extensors soften. They are now relaxed. This is your neutral spine position.
Without losing the neutral spine, lower your arms to your sides and lift your chest. This should be a comfortable standing posture. It's good for your overall health to learn to stand this way.